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Visitors can now pinch and zoom their way around the ancient Greek site, with a digital overlay showing how it once looked. That includes a collection of marble sculptures removed from the Parthenon more than 200 years ago that are now on display at the British Museum in London. Greece has demanded they be returned.
For now, an app supported by Greece’s Culture Ministry allows visitors to point their phones at the Parthenon temple, and the sculptures housed in London appear back on the monument as archaeologists believe they looked 2,500 years ago.
Other, less widely known features also appear: Many of the sculptures on the Acropolis were painted in striking colors. A statue of the goddess Athena in the main chamber of the Parthenon also stood over a shallow pool of water.
The virtual restoration works anywhere and could spare some visitors the crowded uphill walk and long wait to see the iconic monuments up close. It might also help the country’s campaign to make Greek cities year-round destinations.
Tourism, vital for the Greek economy, has roared back since the COVID-19 pandemic, even as wildfires chased visitors from the island of Rhodes and affected other areas this summer. The number of inbound visitors from January through July was up 21.9% to 16.2 million compared with a year ago, according to the Bank of Greece. Revenue was up just over 20%, to 10.3 billion euros ($10.8 billion).
The app, called “Chronos” after the mythological king of the Titans and Greek word for “time,” uses augmented reality to place the ancient impression of the site onto the screen, matching the real-world view as you walk around.
AR is reaching consumers after a long wait and is set to affect a huge range of professional and leisure activities. Medical surgery, military training and specialized machine repair as well as retail and live event experiences are all in the sights of big tech companies betting on a lucrative future in immersive services.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.